Marsden Jazz Festival
Jazz In The Yorkshire Pennines
Tom Challenger

Tom Challenger

Tom Challenger, hometown lad


Tom Challenger, hometown lad

“My name is Tom Challenger and I’m playing with Kit Downes on organ with a piece by Vyamanikal. It’s a piece we developed for Aldeburgh music when we did a residency in that area, where we travelled around lots of churches and wrote a lot of music in each church and then we recorded all that back at the studio and now we have started taking that piece and were playing it in different spaces.”

What are some of your earliest memories of the festival?

“My first memory of the jazz festival was seeing Ronnie Scott, I don’t know when that was, a long time ago, that was in the mechanics and then every year I was part of the festival playing in bands and things like that. It has always been part of the annual calendar here and in that, its importance and its significance grew as I became more and more in the music scene in London.”

How has the festival influenced you as a musician?

“Every year it was an important forming event for me, it definitely acted as the catalyst for me to get into music in a much heavier way”

What makes jazz a good entry point into music for young people

“In jazz, in what we know as normal traditional jazz there is a lot of elements that are great or kids, rhythm and melody, it’s an ensemble activity so its great to get people together. But, I think, for me, one of the things that I love about jazz that I love is that no one has ever been able to or never probably will be able to categorise it for what it actually is, so actually I see for kids it is a bit of a blank canvas with maybe more chance for kids to improvise and again to play more creatively in ensembles so it’s you know, it’s the fact that there is no real rules that makes it more of important thing for kids.”

What would you like to say to the volunteers who enable it to happen?

“Don’t stop, ever!”

“It’s really good that every year you see, being in London you see a lot of my friends come up to play here and there is a slow growth in people talking about this festival, which is nuts because it’s a tiny village in the middle of the Pennines. It’s great to see the buzz of the festival kind of creep up and I think that if people stop working hard at the grass roots level here all year round, then that chatter will die down and the chatter needs to get louder.”